A Little History of Man’s Obsession with the Bracelet

Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.”

It’s a statement that holds true today but, in order to thoughtfully adorn oneself, we think it is important to know the history behind the most common jewelry pieces. Today, we’re diving into the history of the humble bracelet and offering styling suggestions so you may adorn yourself accordingly.

Man’s use of bracelets…

is nearly as old as time itself. For millennia, men have been adorning their wrists with decorative hardware. Ancient texts like the Bible make reference to men wearing bracelets, and Greek soldiers wore leather bracelets into battle to protect their wrists from injury.

In more modern times, bracelets were worn by European nobility to denote their higher station and some cultures used bangles as a form of currency. During the Middle Ages, the wearing of bracelets by women became quite popular. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that men began to once again sport bracelets.

Today, bracelets are available in a variety of styles and materials and provide an easy way for men to personalise their own style. Bracelets have quickly become as acceptable as the wristwatch, allowing men to accessorize for any occasion—from casual to workwear and formal events.

If you have yet to jump on the bracelet trend, here are 3 reasons to climb aboard…

1. They are on trend for 2023.

Men’s jewelry is having a moment right now. The fashion world has taken notice of modern style icons like Harry Styles who are broadening what is considered appropriate for men’s jewelry (Harry is singlehandedly responsible for the pearl obsession in men’s jewelry that were all over the spring 2023 fashion runways).

In addition to pearls, on-trend styles for this year run the gamut from simple cord and cable bracelets to wildly amorphous cuffs and bangles. There truly is no better time to experiment with (or broaden) your style than this very moment.

2. They make great conversation pieces.

Bracelets are like tattoos—good ones should always have a story or purpose behind them. The jewelry you wear should speak to you. There should be a reason you feel compelled to slip on a particular cuff or bracelet. And when you put that level of intention into the jewelry you wear, you can expect others to notice…and ask you about them.

This makes for an excellent conversation starter. Where that conversation leads is entirely up to you.

3. They instantly elevate your look.

And it doesn’t matter how casual or formal your look is…there is always a bracelet that can take your current look to the next level.

Take the casual weekend uniform of a V-neck tee and jeans. Adding a stack of cord bracelets or a collection of cords, beads, and bangles creates a bohemian, devil-may-care look of laidback cool that takes casual wear from boring to blazing hot.

When you’re heading into the office, consider adding a simple, thin cuff to your arm. It will add casual refinement and a subtle class when peeking out from beneath the cuff of your dress shirt.

Even formalwear benefits from a little arm candy. A slinky chain or link bracelet adds a flash of color from beneath the sleeve of a tuxedo. And here’s a tip—wear a bracelet in lieu of cufflinks. Having both can feel like overkill.

Some Tips When Wearing Bracelets

  • Keep things (slightly) balanced. This doesn’t mean wearing the same bracelet on both wrists. What we do mean is keeping proportions in mind. If you are sporting a chunky wristwatch, balance it with a small bracelet or two on the opposite arm. If you absolutely must wear your bracelet on the same arm, opt for a single, thin bracelet.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix metals and materials. The monochrome look is so passe. If you feel like mixing it up, go right ahead. This includes mixing materials—cords, beads, and metals can coexist happily—and the metals themselves. Wearing gold and silver tones simultaneously is another hot trend for 2023.
  • Make sure your jewelry fits properly. Poorly fitting jewelry is as detrimental as a poorly fitted suit…it just takes away from your look. Take the time to make sure your bracelets fit properly. You should have just enough room to slide one or two fingers between the bracelet and your arm. Any more and you run the risk of the bracelet sliding off your hand. Any less, and you’ll like you’re wearing a child’s bracelet.

There’s never been a better time to experiment with your own jewelry style and bracelets are an excellent place to start. So, get a little introspective. Find out what style and material speaks to you then let your new bracelets do what they do best…take your look to the next level.